A Revamped Procedural Sky System

20 November 2008

“First we look to buy a nice house and car. Then we buy guns and other weapons. The rest of the money we use to relax.”

Suddenly it’s all Somali pirates all the time, all driving speedboats, all loading their machine guns and rocket launchers, all chewing the narcotic leaf qat and dreaming of ways out of the zone – here, here, here and everywhere else. Where is the amazing Kathy Acker when you need someone to mix this stuff up a bit?


Initially, the team created a procedural sky rendering approached based on algorithms — which led to a totally unconvincing skybox that was clearly inferior to what a hand-authored skybox would be. “We considered it to be a total failure,” he said.

He explained that a great deal of focus must be put on the tools that surround the algorithms, to allow the systems to be properly harnessed. In the end, the game shipped with a revamped procedural sky system that ended up much more effective than the first attempt. It takes into account myriad weather patterns, atmospheric conditions, and other variables.

Following earlier post on games testing, and in general zone of The Broken World, the quote above comes from a nice piece here at Gamasutra on virtual world creation and how developers, like those of Far Cry 2, are increasingly minded to use what they call ‘procedural content generation’ to make spaces, environments and so on from sets of rules and more-or-less random variables. I still can’t quite explain or understand why I find this kind of thing so totally fascinating. Link via Boing Boing.

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